Computer game developer and publisher Electronic Arts have today made an offer to acquire all shares in the Swedish company Digital Illusions, developer of computer game Battlefield 1942, amongst others. FZ got to chat with Patrick Söderlund for a few minutes, CEO of DiCE.
Electronic Arts currently has 19 per cent of all shares in Digital Illusions, with its headquarter in Stockholm, but has of today made an offer to acquire the remaining 81 per cent. Through the new ownership DICE would get increased funds to precipiate the transition to the next generation consoles (Xbox 2 by Microsoft and PSP by Sony).
FZ: Congratulations on the offer!
Patrick Söderlund (PS): Thank you! It is however yet to be completed, the shareholders will first have to accept the offer in order to complete the deal, but we do count on that happening.
FZ: The past few years have been very successful, especially with the Battlefield 1942-franchaise. How long do you expect this game will continue to generate sales?
PS: We do expect to further develop the concept and game engine, using these to produce more titles. As of now Battlefield 2 is currently being developed and we expect to release this in March next year.
FZ: The gaming community and developing are undergoing some major changes. Will DICE continue to develop titles for the PC, or is developing gearing towards the next generation consoles?
PS: We've actually developed quite alot of titles for the consoles already, the Rallisport Challenge-games by Microsoft being one of them. They have however not even been close to the success of Battlefield 1942. Alot of focus will be put into the developing of games for Sonys and Microsofts coming consoles. This does not mean we will stop producing titles fot the PC, after all that's where we have our most faithful clientele.
FZ: Will DICE remain located in Sweden, or will the headquarters and/or development move to the USA?
PS: No, we will continue to remain situated in Stockholm, which is also what Electronic Arts had in mind. There are also plans on expanding here, and it could very likely be possible to hire some where between 150-200 people.
FZ: Will DICE, as a company, continue to exist, or will it become yet another EA Games-studio?
PS: It has not been settled yet, and it's very possible we will change the name but nothing is certain at this time.
FZ: Concluding, as EA Games has almost completed its acquisition of DICE, will there be any more Rallisport Challenge-titles from Digital Illusions?
PS: No, Microsoft owns the license and authority of the RalliSport Challenge games, and we will continue to develop exlusivly in the account of our publisher. That being said we'll very likely continue to develop car racing games, both for PC and consoles.
English translation by Christopher Strömblad